Republicans' no-tax purity problem - CNN.com
Alas, the "who" part is the real problem. The Republican party has evolved, before our very eyes, into a purist, anti-tax troupe that cares more about its no-new-taxes mantra than deficit reduction. It has defined itself downward, to borrow Pat Moynihan's phrase: from a big-tent, fiscally conservative party into a coalition narrowly and blindly carved to fit a political bumper sticker.
How else to explain the GOP's refusal to even consider a potential deal cooked up by the president and House Speaker John Boehner? When the Democratic president even considers a $4 trillion plan that counts $3 in spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases, serious-minded GOP deficit cutters would normally rejoice.
That's because Republicans have moved beyond politics and into theology: Offered an exchange of billions in taxes for trillions in deficit cuts, they could not see their way beyond their no-tax religion. A definitional moment, to say the least.
It comes as no surprise, but it disappoints all the same. More than 230 House Republicans -- along with 40 GOP senators -- all signed a no-tax pledge. Back in 2008, John McCain refused to sign one, rightly arguing that no president should lock himself into that box
But how about a pledge to keep the country running, not to mention a pledge to try and reduce the deficit? Whatever happened to that? Republicans are fond of claiming that Obama does not pay homage to the notion of American exceptionalism. But how can you level that claim when your party is happy to let the nation default on its debts? (Or, as GOP presidential wannabee Tim Pawlenty put it, "I hope and pray and believe they should not raise the debt ceiling.") Is that what Tim Pawlenty really prays about?